Wednesday, November 29, 2006

World's Smallest Camera Flip Phone - Pantech C3

Based on the dimensions that read 2.72”x1.69”x.8”, with a weight of only 71.9 grams, Pantech C3 is the World's smallest Camera Flip Phone,  comes up with more customization and rich multimedia features.

  Pantech C3 Phone (Cingular)

Pantech Wireless Inc. - the U.S.-based subsidiary of Pantech Group, Korea’s leading mobile phone manufacturer today announced the introduction of the Pantech C3, an enhanced version of the world’s smallest camera Flip Phone.

Building on the success of the C300, the company has given the popular phone a stylish upgrade. Customers can now articulate their personal style by quickly customizing their world’s smallest camera flip phones with a variety of changeable color faceplates. Upon purchase, the C3 comes equipped with both Secret Blue and Silver frontages. Other colors and styles will be made available following the launch. This versatile handset is the perfect accessory for trendsetters that want their cell phone to more readily adjust to their lifestyle.

The multimedia C3, available exclusively through all Cingular Wireless sales channels, allows users to share photos and songs with friends, hand-select and assign MP3 ringtones, utilize an array of instant messaging capabilities and stay connected with multiple mobile email services. The phone is small and mighty, measuring only 2.72 inches tall, 1.69 inches wide and .8 inches thick when closed, and once opened it features a bright color screen, large fonts and a VGA camera with flash and zoom.

Source : Press Release via Mobile Burn

[tags]pantech+c3, mobile-handset, cingular, usa, cellular-life-style[/tags]

Investing In Education And The Missing Category Of College Dropouts

Saw some startling figures of where you will end up if you go for a job with your education.  If you work throughout your life as per stats, this is where you end up.

“The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing includes a chart that lists expected lifetime earnings per education level. The chart lists various education level and what people at those education levels can expect to earn throughout their lives (according to the U.S. Census Bureau.) The results:

  • Some high school, no diploma - $1,000,000
  • High school diploma or equivalent - $1,200,000
  • Some college, no degree - $1,500,000
  • Associate degree - $1,600,000
  • Bachelor’s degree - $2,100,000
  • Master’s degree - $2,500,000
  • Doctoral degree - $3,400,000
  • Professional degree - $4,400,000

Source: Career Intensity Blog - David V. Lorenzo

Looks all true and encouraging and little tempated to think about getting an advanced degree. Suddenly I realized, seriously, isn't some thing else misssing? Another category? College drop outs. The category that makes Billions of dollars. The category that retires atleast 10-15 years earlier than these scholars. hhum. Some how, they did not make it to these stats, but as each of us know history is full of such college drop outs. I bet each one of us know atleast one from our own school or class or community, who surpassed our flashy income and made it to 10s of millions if not billions of dollars, though he/she is no where near your education level.

Not quite mean that education is useless. But some thing is totally missing out of the equation.

Again, these figures are average, if that is any solace. But it is very disturbing to see those figures. From the stats, it suggests that better your education level, better you earn. 4 Million dollars in earnings after a life long-job ? Good deal for a life?

If this is a reality show, and you are asked to work through out your life for a 4 Million dollar prize money, (and in the spirit of the game, and hard reality, not every one is guaranteed to win $4M) Will you take the challenge ??

Well, you have already accepted the challenge and right in the game, if you rely on the job. And there are your stats. Go and beat them. Good Luck.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Second Life® Gets Cell Phone

There are about 2.5 Billion REAL people have access to a cell phone world wide. And now 1.5 million virtual people can get a cell phone too. Second Life gets a virtual cell phone for its residents, totally free, thanks to YouNeverCall.

YouNeverCall, the popular online cell phone store, (see: http://www.younevercall.com) has ventured into a new dimension of cell phones - the virtual one. The resident-owned Second Life population can now get a virtual - and functional - cell phone, for free.

"At YouNeverCall, we have decided to venture beyond our traditional customer base," states Sam Michelson, CEO of YouNeverCall, "and Second Life offers us more than a 1.5 million potential new customers. The virtual cell phones we are offering on Second Life are more than just a fun accessory. The cell phones let Second Life residents send and receive text messages, as well as hold the virtual phone to their ear. They ring like real cell phones and, best of all, require no special download. YouNeverCall's Second Life cell phones also offer valuable information like the exchange rate of the Linden dollar (Second Life currency) to US dollar, and actual US stock quotes. The YouNeverCall virtual kiosk in Second Life is conveniently located in the Alston region at coordinates 95, 58, 22, right near a Lindex ATM."

Source: Popular Online Cell Phone Store 'YouNeverCall' Offers Virtual Cell Phones in Second Life®

[tags]secondlife, younevercall, mobile-handset, cellular-life-style[/tags]

Erasable Paper From Xerox

Every other week there will be a document review meeting, with document size ranging from 20 pages to 140 pages. Every reviewer prints the whole document and after 30-45 minutes in review, we all usually throw away the document. More over, when author revises the document, above process just repeats.  Many of us don't like to review the document online, as we all tend to prefer paper since we can mark, draw, underline, make a quick note etc. on paper, which is quite not possible online or not so intuitive. In the process we throw reams of printed paper to the trash and dry up toners pretty quick.

Well, not for long. Xerox is developing erasable paper, that can be recycled and reused in a matter of 16 hours without throwing away. Quite ideal for the above scenario of reviews. Also if you print out confidential documents, you don't have to struggle with paper shredders to make information invisible. Information on erasable paper automatically disappear. Very interesting.

The researchers now have a prototype that will produce documents on a specially coated paper with a light yellow tint.

The process works without toner and produces a low-resolution document that appears to be printed with purple ink.

The printed information on the document "disappears" within 16 hours. The documents can be reused more quickly by simply placing them in the copier paper tray.

The researchers said that individual pieces of paper had been used up to 50 times, and that the only limit in the process appears to be paper life.

Source: Xerox developing 'erasable paper' system - Technology & Media - International Herald Tribune

Nokia Unveils 4 New Phones

At its annual Capital Market Days event in Amsterdam, Nokia unveiled 4 new Mobile phones to the market. Read the Nokia News Release (PDF) here.

Nokia 6300 - Clean styling, compact size
The Nokia 6300 is a mid-range model that represents an evolution of the modern monoblock design.  Less than 13.1mm thin, the slim Nokia 6300 has a stainless steel frame that adds both design interest and strength. In addition to its organic curves and appealing design, the Nokia 6300 offers a robust range of easy-to-use features. The estimated retail price of the Nokia 6300 is 250 euros before subsidies or taxes.



Nokia 6290 Smartphone - advanced technology made simple

The Nokia 6290 smartphone combines the collective power of S60 3rd Edition and 3G in an easy-to-use, attractively designed package.  It supports a number of practical new features, multiple alarms and handy Quick Cover access keys which enable instant access to a wide range of the device's useful features, including an interactive world travel application.  The estimated retail price of the Nokia 6290 is 325 euros before subsidies or taxes.

Nokia 6086 Cameraphone - Compelling feature set, seamless connectivity
The Nokia 6086 allows consumers to stay in touch - in any environment. This quad-band GSM and UMA-enabled cameraphone hides its sophisticated circuitry in a classic design with a large keypad and intuitive user menu.  The estimated retail price of the Nokia 6086 is 200 euros before subsidies or taxes.

Nokia 2626 - Tune into style
The Nokia 2626 is a colorful mobile phone designed for style-conscious consumers in emerging markets. The Nokia 2626 will be available in a range of bold colors, such as Fiery Red and Spatial Blue, and includes an FM radio for music on the go. The estimated retail price of the Nokia 2626 is 75 euros before subsidies or taxes.

Source: http://darlamack.blogs.com/darlamack/2006/11/nokia_launches_.html & http://www.nokia.com/cmd2006

[tags]Nokia, mobile-handset, Europe, cellular-life-style[/tags]

Monday, November 27, 2006

70 Brilliant Minds on the Next 50 Years

As part of New Scientist's 50th anniversary celebrations, it asked over 70 of the world's most brilliant scientists for their predictions for the next 50 years. Here are the topics of the predictions for future.

Life: Ageing, alien life, consciousness, ecology, embryology, environment, evolution, genetics, health, humans, language, neuroscience, oceans, psychology, sex and social science.

Space and technology: Artificial intelligence, communications, computing, cosmology, space and technology.

Physical sciences: Chemistry, energy, materials, maths and physics.

Source: Brilliant Minds on the Next 50 Years: Instant Expert - science-forecasts - 16 November 2006 - New Scientist

Here is a prediction on Search Engines by Peter Norvig of Google, talking about the realization of semantic web:

In 50 years the scene will be transformed. Instead of typing a few words into a search engine, people will discuss their needs with a digital intermediary, which will offer suggestions and refinements. The result will not be a list of links, but an annotated report (or a simple conversation) that synthesises the important points, with references to the original literature. People won't think of "search" as a separate category - it will all be part of living.

One in Six carry Two Mobile phones

 ZDNet IT Facts has some interesting stats from Instat about the use of cell phones.

More than 15% of people carry two wireless phones, In-Stat says. 80% of the people that have a camera phone say they regularly carry their digital camera, 75% of SmartPhone users also carry a PDA, and more than 50% of users of multimedia phones also carry their MP3 player. Only 43% of the respondents to an In-Stat survey stated that higher productivity would be obtained with a SmartPhone.

Source: » More than 15% of people carry two wireless phones | IT Facts | ZDNet.com

[tags]cellular-life-style, mobile-applications, mobile-handsets, smartphones, instat, zdnet[/tags]

SMS Spam is REAL, in China

Recently I wrote a post trying to contemplate whether SMS Spam is real. Ferris Research indicated that "In 2005, about 500 million unwanted text messages reached subscribers. In 2006, that figure is expected to be 800 million." but analysts at Ferris Research considered it as nothing comparing with the volume of SMS messages sent.

Read a report released by China Internet Society, explaining the worrysome scenario of SMS spamming in China. 8 spam messages a week is a lot.

Chinese mobile phone users are being flooded with spam text messages, with 6.25 per cent of them receiving spam more than 40 times a week, according to a survey by the China Internet Society.

The survey, released on Tuesday, shows that 35 per cent of all 4,721 users randomly questioned across the country receive five to 10 spam messages a week, while 15 per cent get 10 to 20. On average, each user receives at least eight spam messages a week, questionnaires show.

Common junk messages include advertisements, swindles, information on illegal selling of vehicles, weapons or fake diplomas, and short message services (SMS) that users never signed up for

Source: People's Daily Online -- Spam text messages a headache for all

Considering the fact that there are about 450 Million mobile users in china, there are about 500 Million Spam SMS message every day, that accounts to 182 Billion Spam messages. If we count the cost of each SMS, at a US prices of 10 cents, then that would mean 18.2 Billion US Dollars.

Do you now consider SMS spamming as real or not?

[tags]sms, sms-spam, mobile-applications, mobile-markets, china[/tags]

15 Options to Switch Off Windows

Usability does not mean pouring in too many options. But providing the minimalistic set to achieve full functionality.  While many say, you must have explicit options to do different things, I agree with Joel, that all we need is one button to put the computer to rest. Everything else is implicit and can be done by Windows without confusing users. Less is More, just like 37signals say.

Every time you want to leave your computer, you have to choose between nine, count them, nine options: two icons and seven menu items. The two icons, I think, are shortcuts to menu items. I'm guessing the lock icon does the same thing as the lock menu item, but I'm not sure which menu item the on/off icon corresponds to.

On many laptops, there are also four FN+Key combinations to power off, hibernate, sleep, etc. That brings us up to 13 choices, and, oh, yeah, there's an on-off button, 14, and you can close the lid, 15. A total of fifteen different ways to shut down a laptop that you're expected to choose from.

Source: Joel on Software

PayWi - Purchase anything with your Mobile

Under The Radar reports about a Mobile Payment application that will let users buy just any thing using their mobiles. Unlike other solutions, no valuable information stored on the mobile. So nothing to worry if your mobile is lost or stolen.

PayWi is a nifty little application that lets you make all kinds of purchases and financial transactions from your mobile phone. Not just to buy mobile services and applications, but any kind of retail or online purchase. And it’s not just limited to purchases. Users can make other financial transactions, like allocating funds, all through their phone. The transactions are secure and link users directly to credit and bank accounts, allowing real-time monitoring of transactions. Since no personal information regarding the transfer lives on the phone, a lost cell phone isn’t an instant calamity.

The list of benefits to the user is a long one. Users can make retail purchases without ever showing a credit or debit card. They can monitor and share restaurant tabs in real time and instantly pay the bill. Heads of household can establish family sub-accounts and monthly allowances for shared users. Users can even make payments toward monthly bills, either automatically or manually.

Consumer information is stored on the company’s secure servers. A transaction is initiated by users giving merchants a PayWi account number. The financial information is then transmitted securely to a designated bank or credit card network. PayWi provides an extra layer of consumer control and security by requiring authentication from the mobile handset before transaction execution.

Source: Under the Radar » Blog Archive » Make all your purchases on your mobile with PayWi

[tags]paywi, mobile-applications, mobile-commerce[/tags]

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Online Ad Revenues

Read recently about growth in online Ad Revenues here. However, the following conclusion from the post about decline in older media budgets doesn't make sense to me.

Some of the growth is a reallocation of increased spending, but some of it is pure decline in older media, with broadcast, television, radio, and newspaper struggling in recent years. That is a trend that looks set to accelerate over the next twelve months, which will be financially painful indeed for such industries.

It is pretty clear that online Ad revenues are growing. But are they really making any dent in the traditional ads? I don't think so. From the graphs below, I do not see any decline in Traditional ad revenues. I sure see an increase in overall Ad spending. Online Ads are still about 2% of total Ad Revenues. And while it may continue to grow, what we might see is an overall increase in ad spending rather than a decline in traditional media revenues. Because, the sales gained per each $ spent on online ads is substantially lower than the traditional media.

[ Source  ]

Traditional media like TV and News papers have also started leveraging internet for improving their share of penetration and viewing stats. That would directly mean, more ad revenue for traditional media than online ads.

Lost Remote has a press release from CBS reporting favorably on their YouTube experiment. CBS uploaded 300 clips that were seen by almost 30 million viewers (mostly clips from Letterman), but they also saw a spike in TV viewership, especially on Letterman.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

New Security Features in Cell Phones

Associated Press reports new security Features introduced in P903i Cell phone available from NTT DoCoMo in Japan. The security is quite essential to this phone model, since this also can act as credit card or a prepaid cash card.

Along with supporting 4 character password, the new phone also features the following.

  • The cell phone automatically locks up when you move away a certain distance from the phone.
  • Supports Facial Recognition, by which it does not allow anybody else but you to access your cell phone.
  • And If you loose the mobile, you can track it  using GPS.
  • Read more about how it works here.

    [tags]mobile-handsets, mobile-security, NTTDoCoMo, Japan[/tags]

    How To Erase Data On Your Cell Phone

    Well, before reading how to, why should one erase data on a cell phone? Quick answer, when you are giving away your cell phone to some one dear or donating to a charity mission or throwing away completely.

    If you remove all contacts and messages and any other data on your cell phone using regular interface using which you added them in the first place, that data is not completely removed from the cellphone. Trust Digital, a McLean, Va. security firm explains,

    "The file system on your cell phone or PDA is just like the one on your PC's hard drive. If you delete a file, you're not really overwriting the data. All it's doing is changing the index of the file system, or the file's pointers." 

    A few months back, Trust Digital reported that most used cell phones and PDAs contain personal information that their former owners neglected to adequately delete,  Trust Digital examined a small sample of used phones and personal data assistants purchased from sellers on the eBay online auction site, and recovered data from 9 out of 10 of the devices.

    Because phone and PDA data is stored in flash memory, it's retained even if the device's battery is drained or removed. To delete flash memory data, users have to do a "hard reset," which returns the hardware to a factory-fresh condition. Each phone and PDA maker uses a different hard reset procedure; some, in fact, can only be down by a technician or after contacting the phone service's help desk.[ via Techweb news article]

    Wireless Recycling has setup a webpage where you can download step by step instructions to completely erase data for most of the mobile handsets. You can download the instructions by choosing the Manufacturer name and the model number of mobile on the webpage.

     Visit : http://wirelessrecycling.com/home/data_eraser/default.asp

    [tags]mobile-handsets, mobile-security, wirelessrecyling[/tags]

    Charging your Cell Phone Wirelessly

    Every electronic device small or big comes up with another accessory, a charger. And, Unfortunately every charger is different and you cannot use one for the other. Is the scene at your home different than what is shown in this picture? (image from BBC News Report)

    Most likely, at home, you would have atleast 5 chargers always plugged in, waiting to be connected to respective devices every night. When you are travelling, this poses a problem of serious inconvenience too. Not to mention the clumsy wires all around. Only a few aiports have  charging kiosks. So, wherever you go, you must carry them all along. Not so convenient. But Is there a viable alternative in the market?  Well, a Yes and a No. Precisely, not YET.   

    For a detailed discussion Read the complete article at The Cellular Life Style.

    Charging your Cell Phone Wirelessly

    Every electronic device small or big comes up with another accessory, a charger. And, Unfortunately every charger is different and you cannot use one for the other. Is the scene at your home different than what is shown in this picture? (image from BBC News Report)

    Most likely, at home, you would have atleast 5 chargers always plugged in, waiting to be connected to respective devices every night. When you are travelling, this poses a problem of serious inconvenience too. Not to mention the clumsy wires all around. Only a few aiports have  charging kiosks. So, wherever you go, you must carry them all along. Not so convenient. But Is there a viable alternative in the market?  Well, a Yes and a No. Precisely, not YET.   

    If we can wirelessly transmit power to these devices, we can get rid of the hassle of chargers. Learned that There was lot of research going on to transmit power wirelessly. Not to powerup your cellphones and other devices, but to power up areas which can not be wired up. Same concept could be however used to charge your devices.

    [Wiki]: The development of wireless energy transfer began in earnest with the lectures and patents of the electrical engineer Nikola Tesla. In experiments around 1899, Tesla was able to light gas discharge lamps (similar to neon signs) from over 25 miles away without using wires.

    But it appears that there was not much development later on to put the experiments and concepts to any considerable practical use, despite minor applications. Conceptually there are three methods known to transfer energy wirelessly.

    1. Energy Transfer through Microwaves

    As per news report, "Wireless Transmission in Earth's Energy Future" ,

     Wireless energy transmission could be part of a clean, abundant energy future says The Millennium Project of the American Council for the United Nations University. To meet the world's growing appetite for energy without environmental damage, electricity would be converted to microwaves, beamed over long distances by satellite, and then reconverted back to electricity.

    As per an article , NASA has tested this technology, and The Millenium Project has decided to use this technology to trasmit power.  But no indication or research that I am aware of about how this can be used to charge mobile devices.

    2. Energy Transfer through Induction:

    If you have seen an Electric tooth brushe, you have already seen this concept in use. [Wiki]The electronic compartments in the electronic toothbrushes are completely sealed to prevent water damage. There are no metal contacts. These toothbrushes charge using a technique called inductive charging. In the brush unit is one half of a transformer, and in the charge-unit is the other part of the transformer. When brought together, a varying magnetic field in one coil induces a current in the other coil, thereby allowing for the charging of a battery.

    A UK Company called Splash Power has came up with a solution using this technology to charge your devices wirelessly. The solution requires a special element to be inserted into your mobile device. This spalsh enabled device, then can be placed on a Charging pad (SplashPad) to charge. They have reportedly demonstrated with NTT DoCoMo's FOMA 3G phones and the Apple iPod at CEATEC consumer electronics show in Tokyo, Japan from 4-8 October, 2005.

     

    Not sure when all mobile devices will be equipped with Splash module in the general market. But looks very promising.

    3. Resonance :

    A BBC News Report says MIT researchers have outlined a relatively simple system that could deliver power to devices such as laptop computers or MP3 players without wires. The idea is based on Resonance. When you have two resonant objects of the same frequency,  energy can be transferred between them. "If you bring another resonant object with the same frequency close enough to these tails then it turns out that the energy can tunnel from one object to another," said Professor Soljacic. A simple copper antenna designed to have long-lived resonance could transfer energy to a laptop with its own antenna resonating at the same frequency. The computer would be truly wireless.

    However, the team has not built and tested a system, computer models and mathematics suggest it will work. Read more at BBC News Report & MIT News.

    So wait is not over YET, but there is a promise that one day, we can charge our cellphones without every having to connect to a charger, I mean wirelessly.

    [tags]mobile-devices, wireless+charging,Cellularlifestyle, splashpower, MIT,NASA[/tags]

    Friday, November 17, 2006

    Themed Mobile Phones for Kids

     Specially themed Mobile Phones  for Kids from FireFly will be available mid-november.

    Firefly Mobile, the designer, developer and manufacturer of Firefly™, the industry’s first Mobile Phone for Mobile Kids™, proudly announces a licensing agreement with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, to unveil a new line of kid’s mobile phones featuring imagery of such world-renowned characters as Tweety and DC Comics’ Superman and Supergirl.

    SuperMan Phone

    Tweety

    Supergirl

    Visit http://www.fireflymobile.com/ for more.

    [tags]firefly, mobile-handsets, mobile-life-style, mobile-operators, mobile-markets[/tags]

    Orb MyCasting - Confused! Complicated!

    Orb Networks recently released their free MyCasting service, that allow you to watch videos from Youtube, Google, Daily Motion etc on your Mobile or PDA or any device that has a browser and media player. 

    Orb MyCasting makes it possible for people to organize, enjoy and share their videos, music, photos, TV, documents and other digital media when (time) and where (place) they want it, using the devices – be it a mobile phone, PDA or laptop – that they already own. Source: RELEASE: Orb Networks takes YouTube, other sites, mobile with Orb MyCasting - FierceWireless

    I was quite thrilled to know about the service. The service optimizes the content for your mobile for better experience and data transfer. But the architecture of the whole service is quite baffling. I didn't quite understand why?

    For the service to work, you must have an 'Always On' PC at home. It must be always ON and connected to internet. Infact, your PC will act as your broadcasting station, in other words manage and create media streams for you. When you access your media channel from your mobile, infact you are connected to your PC at home to receive the stream.  Your PC at home acts a webserver for media stream. Now this is not quite impressive. I do not have a rugged desktop. I have run my $1400 laptop non-stop to use the service. Doesn't make sense to me.

    Orb Networks should have provided a network based solution instead. It would have been much cleaner and simpler to use. No installations required. You login and manage what kind of channels you need. Streams are created on the server and when you access you receive the content from the server. Obviously, on the server side it is not required to duplicate streams or content. The same stream can be delivered to more than one user. It looks like, Orb Networks is scared of bandwidth costs it might end up paying.  Or is there any other not-so-obvious engineering reason to adopt this kind of an adhoc architecture.

    I have another question, whether it is legal to take a video on MyTube and convert it into a different format (size,bitrate,...) to fit into mobile devices?

    (Updated again on 11/19/2006) : While Orb opens up a great new opportunity to access all the media that you already own on your Mobile phone, the solution relies on the fact that “you must run your home PC always ON”. This is a serious trouble for people who only own a laptop or two. And if you want to share a clip on your channel with your collegues/friends, your laptop will either die due to the traffic or you can not work on it while the clip is being accessed.

    Watching video clips is my main reason to use Orb. I believe if YouTube opens up for Mobiles with optimized content, I don’t see value in Orb Mycasting. Music and Photos streaming to your Mobile, is not for me. I don’t see any need for it. If some one want to listen to music on their mobile, by streaming, god bless the cellphone and its battery.

    [tags]orb, mycasting, mobile-applications, mobile-video, mobile-life-style, cellular-life-style[/tags]

    Taking Pictures With Your Camera Phone

    How frequently do you use Camera on your cell phone? Except on planned trips and vacations, I use my cellphone to take pictures.

    Here is a stat on how frequently a picture is taken using mobile phone.  

    Taking Pictures With Your Camera Phone

    Source: MMA Global - Taking Pictures With Your Camera Phone

    [tags]mobile-applications, camera, mobile-life-style[/tags]

    Taking Pictures With Your Camera Phone

    How frequently do you use Camera on your cell phone? Except on planned trips and vacations, I use my cellphone to take pictures.

    Here is a stat on how frequently a picture is taken using mobile phone.  

    Taking Pictures With Your Camera Phone

    Source: MMA Global - Taking Pictures With Your Camera Phone

    Short Codes vs StarStar Dialing

    If you have ever voted on American Idol or any such show, you must have already used Short Codes. Wiki explains: Short codes, also known short numbers or Common Short Codes (CSC) are special telephone numbers, significantly shorter than full telephone numbers, which can be used to address SMS and MMS messages from mobile telephones. They are designed to be shorter to read out and easier to remember than a normal length telephone number. While similar to telephone numbers, they are, at the technological level, unique to each operator, although providers generally have agreements to avoid overlaps.

    Short codes are widely used for value-added services such as television voting, ordering ringtones, charity donations and mobile services (such as Google's SMS search service and 82ASK). Messages sent to short code numbers are generally billed at a higher rate than a standard SMS.

    StarStar is infact still a shorter version of SMS Short codes. Instead of opening up a SMS editor and then sending an SMS to respond to Marketing Campaigns, users can just dial **(two stars, hence star star) and the vanity code. It is much quicker and easier than SMS short codes for most.

    Zoove Corp, that introduced StarStar recently released a report comparing these two approaches to respond to marketing campaigns. 

    Zoove Corp. Releases Mobile Marketing Study
    Results Call for Changes in Mobile Marketing Campaigns
    Mediamark Research (MRI) and Zoove Corp. released the results of a new Mobile Marketing Consumer Study examining the public’s awareness of - and ability to respond to mobile marketing campaigns using different response mechanisms including short message service (SMS) short codes and StarStarâ„¢ Dialing. 

    Results of the study show that three years after the introduction of SMS short codes, only 47 percent of adult consumers know how to use it. Alternatively, 91 percent of adults found it easy to respond to mobile marketing campaigns using StarStar Dialing and 82 percent of participants preferred StarStar Dialing over SMS short codes.
    To view the complete report, please click HERE.

    Source: MMA Global - Zoove Corp. Releases Mobile Marketing Study (Zoove)

    [tags]mobile-applications, sms, starstar, zoove, cellular-life-style, mobile-life-style[/tags]

    In 2006 Mobile subscribers reach 2.6B

    Quite a bit of coincidence that in 2006 Global Mobile subscribers will reach 2.6B. The impressive growth is steadily backed up by Mobile reach out in countries like China and India. And it is expected that by 2010, Global mobile subscribers will reach 4B.  Another reason that could explain the frenzy in Mobile marketing and mobile applications.

    The number of mobile phone subscribers worldwide will rise to 2.6 billion this year and 4 billion by 2010, thanks to the development of ultra-low-cost handsets, market researcher iSuppli said.

    New subscribers in developing nations such as India and China are behind the rapid increase in mobile phone users, the researcher said, while the mobile industry has rallied to the cause with ultra-low-cost handsets.

    Source: Mobile subscribers to reach 2.6b this year—report

    [tags]mobile-applications, mobile-markets, cellular-life-style, report[/tags]

    Thursday, November 16, 2006

    Nokia "5 Cities, 1 Party"-This New Year's Eve

    On December 31st, Nokia will welcome the New Year in unique style – by connecting millions of music lovers from around the world as they count down the final minutes of 2006. Nokia New Year’s Eve, a global music event stretching across four continents, will feature a number of international artists including The Black Eyed Peas and Scissor Sisters to entertain audiences at New Year’s celebrations from Hong Kong to Rio de Janeiro. Those unable to attend in person can experience the party via television or the internet. To orchestrate this unique global celebration, Nokia has enlisted the services of Harvey Goldsmith CBE, the producer of Live Aid and Live8.

    Nokia New Year’s Eve will travel from east to west, starting in Hong Kong’s Ocean Terminal, followed by Mumbai’s Andheri Stadium, the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janeiro and rounding off the night in New York.

    Visit http://www.nokianewyearseve.com for more details or view the press release here. (Source)

    Nokia "5 Cities, 1 Party"-This New Year's Eve

    On December 31st, Nokia will welcome the New Year in unique style – by connecting millions of music lovers from around the world as they count down the final minutes of 2006. Nokia New Year’s Eve, a global music event stretching across four continents, will feature a number of international artists including The Black Eyed Peas and Scissor Sisters to entertain audiences at New Year’s celebrations from Hong Kong to Rio de Janeiro. Those unable to attend in person can experience the party via television or the internet. To orchestrate this unique global celebration, Nokia has enlisted the services of Harvey Goldsmith CBE, the producer of Live Aid and Live8.

    Nokia New Year’s Eve will travel from east to west, starting in Hong Kong’s Ocean Terminal, followed by Mumbai’s Andheri Stadium, the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janeiro and rounding off the night in New York.

    Visit http://www.nokianewyearseve.com for more details or view the press release here. (Source)

    MoboFLIX - Shoot, Upload and Earn

    User Generated Content is the key message of Web2.0 communication and collaboration applications that are spearheading the next wave of IT revolution.  Blogs, Social networking, social bookmarking, photo sharing and video sharing applications are driving the traffic on internet these days. And this is where most of the users are spending their times. So, it is quite natural to expect  similar trends in Mobile world. 

    Recently YouTube announced that a mobile version of YouTube can be expected early next year to target the 2.5B cell phone users around the world. Latest on the bandwagon, is MoboFlix from Melodeo (also pioneered the mobile podcasting), will enable users to upload and share their videos.  But this time, you can also earn a few bucks when users like your video and download to their mobiles to watch it. The revenue that comes from Advertisements and from carrier for increasing the data usage on their networks will be shared with the content creators.  A new trend that is increasingly becoming a popular marketing mantra to get more users create content on thier networks.

    The MoboFLIX revenue-sharing model will pay the creator of any video based on how often their video is downloaded to a mobile phone and viewed on the Web. The shared revenue will come from advertising and/or mobile download charges that have a revenue split. MoboFLIX covers all the distribution bandwidth and works within a wireless carrier's existing infrastructure and business by using MMS and WAP to send and receive videos, driving additional usage of their multimedia services.

    The product is not yet ready. To promote the product, they are launching a  Beta Launch Contest with prize money of $1000 for the top video clip. Top ten clips also get a $100 gift card. All you need to do is shoot your video, upload to MoboFlix.  The clip must not exceed 30 seconds and You need to send your clips to m@MoboFLIX.com between now and 7th of December. Read more about it at http://www.moboflix.com/.

    (Source: Mobile Phone Podcast Blog)

    Wednesday, November 15, 2006

    Is SMS spam real?

    It is quite common that many of us subscribe to text messages to receive alerts from marketers. But most of them are purely based on subscription. Not many of us receive SMS text messages without explicitly requesting them, like we receive emails. This is what I thought so far, until I read this article on CNET News.

    The article warns that there is already considerable spamming using SMS and it will continue to grow.  The figures mentioned in the article are however mind blowing. Not sure how they come up with those figures, but if they are real, there is a bigger issue cooking up that could unsettle the dreams of SMS marketers.

    Between 2005 and 2006, the volume of text message spam that reaches subscribers is expected to grow by 60 percent, according to market research firm Ferris Research.

    Even though text-based spam is on the rise, the number of spam messages that actually get through to subscribers is relatively small, said Richi Jennings, an analyst at Ferris Research. In 2005, about 500 million unwanted text messages reached subscribers. In 2006, that figure is expected to be 800 million. And by the end of 2007, roughly 1 billion text-based spam messages will be received by subscribers, Jennings said. By comparison, U.S. cell phone users sent 12.5 billion text messages in the month of June alone, according to the CTIA Wireless Association. 

    Source: Text message spam could spell trouble for text-based ads | CNET News.com

    I don't want to receive even a single SMS without explicitly subscribing to it,  because it is not only annoyance but also expensive.  It costs $.10 per message.

    Becareful when signing up for alerts through SMS. It could cost you a lot.

    [tags]SMS, mobile-applications, spam, ctia, cnet[/tags]

    Sunday, November 12, 2006

    Cellular Life Styles Apart - Vol.2

    'Cellular Life Styles Apart' is a collection of stories that introduces you to new and innovative ways a Cell Phone is being used. A list of real world Cellular life styles across the world.

    1. Mobile Banking: ClairMail allows you to transact business through SMS or Email on your cell phone. (Source: VentureBeat) "Clairmail lets customers do their banking via SMS, including transferring funds, verifying account and transaction information. A customer messages the bank from their phone, and the bank confirms the customers identity by texting back to the phone and opening up a channel for a transaction."
    2. Free (Ad)Mobile: Google thinking of Free Mobiles supported by Advertising. "Schmidt said Saturday that as mobile phones become more like handheld computers and consumers spend as much as eight to 10 hours a day talking, texting and using the Web on these devices, advertising becomes a viable form of subsidy" (source: CNN Money). Earlier AOL attepted to bring in cheap ad-supported desktops but did not make it through. It will be interesting to see how far this ad-supported free mobile goes.
    3. Fastest SMS Messager: "Sixteen-year-old Ang Chuang Yang, a student from Singapore, broke the Guinness World Record for the shortest time needed to type a 160-character SMS message on Sunday after whizzing through the task in 41.52 seconds in a competition, reports Reuters."  (Source: Textually.Org)
    4. SMS to bring out Journalist in you : "The Sun newspaper has launched a user generated xontent initiative in the UK which allows mobile users to submit content to the 'newspaper' via a short code, according to 160characters.org.  The Sun says it is looking for readers who have snapped a celeb partying on their mobile, filmed a Premiership footballer getting drunk or been caught up in a breaking news story, like a terror attack to send in their pictures and even videos" (Source: Textually.Org)
    5. Instant Voice Messaging: "Pinger is instant voice messaging for your mobile phone. With Pinger you send voice messages directly to someone instantly—no ringing, no greetings, no lengthy prompts. Pinger is fast and efficient like email, but with your voice. It's mobile like text messaging, but with more personality". (Source: Pinger) You can also send the same message to a group of people. That makes it quite useful.
    6. [tags]cellular-life-styles-apart[/tags]

    Saturday, November 11, 2006

    Can you sell your used Software?

    I was searching on Amazon to buy OS X Tiger, and I was quite intrigued to see "Used" software up for sale. 

    Can somebody sell his/her used software? I am wondering whether a normal customer has the rights to resell a software product after using it just like any other product.

    EULA of Windows XP says, you can not sell the software alone, but okay if you sell your computer with software in it.  

    1.2 SOFTWARE as a Component of the COMPUTER - Transfer.
    This license may not be shared, transferred to or used
    concurrently on different computers. The SOFTWARE
    is licensed with the COMPUTER as a single integrated
    product and may only be used with the COMPUTER.
    If the SOFTWARE is not accompanied by HARDWARE,
    you may not use the SOFTWARE. You may permanently
    transfer all of your rights under this EULA only
    as part of a permanent sale or transfer of the
    COMPUTER, provided you retain no copies of the
    SOFTWARE
    . If the SOFTWARE is an upgrade,
    any transfer must also include all prior versions
    of the SOFTWARE. This transfer must
    also include the Certificate of Authenticity
    label. The transfer may not be an indirect transfer,
    such as a consignment. Prior to the transfer,
    the end user receiving the Software must agree
    to all the EULA terms.

    And for most of the software it says "The Software is licensed, not sold.". It is not clear however in their license agreements whether you can sell that license to use the software.

    Unlike other products, selling a software after using is quite tricky. Not the selling part of it, though. If you own a camera and sells it off after a while, you no longer have that camera with you. So actual product is being transferred to new owner. But software is quite not like that. You install the software and use it for a while. You don't like it or you got sick of it. So you sell the CD/DVD to another. But, who takes care of installation that is already running on your machine? If you don't uninstall, its in effect you are selling a copy of the DVD to some one, which is illegal as per the license agreement. I am wondering, if I uninstall my software and then sell it, is it acceptable?

    I would love the idea of selling used software. I have lots of software products that I no longer use. It would be great if I can sell them on ebay or somewhere else.

    Technorati tags: , , ,

    Tuesday, November 7, 2006

    13 Enemies Of The Internet

    Reporters Without Borders (RSF) released a list of Enemies Of The Internet, consists of countries that RSF believes are suppressing freedom of expression on the internet.

    1. Belarus
    2. Burma
    3. China
    4. Cuba
    5. Egypt
    6. Iran
    7. North Korea
    8. Saudi Arabia
    9. Syria
    10. Tunisia
    11. Turkmenistan
    12. Uzbekistan
    13. Vietnam

    Source: BBC NEWS | Technology | 'Enemies of the internet' named

    Sunday, November 5, 2006

    Colleges: What they teach and what we need

    Kathy Sierra wrote a wonderful analysis about the missing piece in the current college education in US, particularly about maths/science/engineering college education. Without any question, this is also true about education system in India and all over the world. Infact, I believe the Education system is much worse in India, if we compare the attributes on the following picture.

    Link: Why does engineering/math/science education in the US suck?. The following image from the original post summarizes her views.

    And what do we do to try and improve things? We just do MORE of what's wrong. We redouble our efforts. We drill and test students even harder in facts and rote memorization. We work and test them even harder on using the tools for communication (e.g. code) rather than the tools for thought (e.g. intuition, visualization, etc.)

    Our educational institutions--at every level--need drastic changes or we're all screwed. The generation of students we're turning out today need skills nobody really cared about 50, 40, even 20 years ago. Where we used to prepare students for a "job for life", now we must prepare students to be jobless. We must prepare them to think fast, learn faster, and unlearn even faster ("yes, that drug was the appropriate way to treat the XYZ disease, but that was so last week. THIS week we now realize it'll kill you.")

    In India, the moment a child is born parents decide to make him a Computer Science graduate and decides that he/she must study in one of the IITs. Or he must become a doctor. So the tuneup starts right from there. Every choice they make in the next years will be based on this goal. Children normally never have a chance to think otherwise. They got to become what their parents are thinking. And the examination system in India by virtue of Entrance exams, students are forced to follow a certain way of learning to beat the exams. Students go on strike if there is a change in the pattern of the examination.  Why does pattern matter, when you learnt the concepts? Did they master the entrance exams or did they master the concepts?

    Friday, November 3, 2006

    Walled Gardens Opened For Business !

    Cingular announced that its customers can now transfer music from thier PCs to Mobile phones for free. And Sprint announced that it will provide a direct link on its browser to access Gmail on mobile phones.

    Cingular will allow people to download music to compatible phones for free, although consumers will pay a monthly charge in the range of $15 for the ability to download songs from those services to a portable music player. "Right now, we're focused on getting people to view mobile music as something that's interesting and exciting. You've got to build a base. Once you do that, there are all sorts of ways to drive revenue from it," says Jim Ryan, vice-president of consumer data services at Cingular. (Source)

    Immedialy whole media buzz began, assuming that some thing great has happened. For a moment, I thought the Walled Gardens are being opened up. But I immediatly realized that The Walled Gardens are still fastened securely. Cingular only allows music bought at Yahoo and Real Rhapsody to be transferred to mobile phones. And Sprint announcement does not mean anything, as any Sprint customer with internet access can access Gmail even now. They are only adding a link to their browser.

    Then what is this fuss and buzz is all about? And why?

    Because, many did not understand it fully and we are not used to such announcements from the owners of The Walled Gardens. Read on.

    Mobile operators in particular, limit the content available to consumers on a mobile device such that only the Mobile Operators and its partners can provide content, often at a premium price. For example, you  can only buy a ringtone either from your mobile carrier or a partner website. But you can not buy or transfer a ringtone from elsewhere. That gives the ability to  put premium price for each of their offerings. For example, you can buy any song available on iTunes for $0.99. But you can not transfer that music to your Verizon mobile phone. You must pay a fee of $2.50 to Verizon for each such transfer or download directly on to your mobile phone.

    This is commonly referred to as 'Walled Gardens', where Carrier decides what content is available to consumers. Consumer can not access content from anywhere else.

    The term's creation is attributed to John Malone, former owner of Tele-Communications Inc. AT&T, who purchased Malone's company, compares the walled garden to a magazine, in which a compilation of various types of content is made available to the reader.

    Revenue generated from this premium priced content used to be a bonus to Mobile operators, as revenue generated from traditional voice revenues alone used to support their entire opertaional expenses and still reap profits. However, as many people started using VOIP calling (Skype, Google Talk, Yahoo and MSN messengers, Vonage etc), the operators were forced to reduce their voice pricing and offer more and more minutes. That drained their profit margins from Voice revenues. So, these days Carriers have been increasingly depending on Data services like SMS, ringtones, wallpapers and internet access to charge customers and stay profitable. They have also achieved a considerable success in selling ringtones and wallpapers at premium prices.

    Everything they could offer to customer, they could reap the benefits. Except one. The internet. So far they could only charge for internet access. Not for what the users are actually browsing. There were desperate attempts to leverage thier Walled Garden architecture to charge customers. Most mobile operators are spending billions of dollars to expand their networks and service creation capabilities via IMS technology, dreaming that they can offer everything (atleast things they can charge) that is currently available on internet, to its users on mobile and charge for it. And eventually block all other websites on the internet and allow only their own content sites and partner sites.

    Carriers like Verizon have already embarked on the journey by offering its own music download service and blocking users to transfer music bought on iTunes to their mobile phones. Sprint followed the suite.

    Today, Cingular announced that they will allow its customers to transfer the music freely from Yahoo and Real Rhapsody. Everybody thought the Walled Gardens are being opened for the first time. But it is not true. The service is restricted to Yahoo and Real Rhapsody subscribers only. iTunes subscribers are still blocked from doing so.  (And starting next year, Cingular will allow consumers to download songs over the air at no charge. Users will still have to pay for data services rateplan and the original Music library from which they are buying the content from)

    So the Walled Gardens are still fastened securely. Cingular just allowed Yahoo and Real as its partners, and kicking everybody else away from its gardens.

    [tags]mobile-music, mobile-applications, cingular, sprint, gmail, mobile-life-style[/tags]

    Blogging makes Better Journalists

    Business2.0 strated 16 new blogs, as it believes blogs makes better journalists. Read on.

    Business 2.0 is jumping hard on the blogging bandwagon with 16 new blogs. Why the big leap? Business 2.0's Eric Schonfeld said "primarily because we think blogging will make us better journalists.  Blogging about a subject on a daily basis is a great way to become an expert on that subject and stay in front of the news in that particular niche."

    Source: MarkEvans, Introducing Business2.0 Beta

    Technorati tags: ,

    Thursday, November 2, 2006

    Cellular Life Styles Apart - Vol.1

    'Cellular Life Styles Apart' is a collection of stories that introduces you to new and innovative ways a Cell Phone is being used. A list of real world Cellular life styles across the world.

    1. Maine Gubernatorial Race Goes Mobile : Green Independent candidate for Governor Pat LaMarche has launched a major mobile campaign a week before the election. Students and citizens of Maine were asked to text the word "Pat" and a topic (example: Pat Health Care) to the shotcode 30644. Later that day Pat spoke at the University of Maine in Orono where her speech based on the top three topics that students and Maine citizens sent to her via text message. [ Source:Personal Democracy Forum]
    2. Cell Phone Voting in a Debate: You must have heard about American Idol voting on cell phones. And many other contests around the world use a similar voting method. But not in political debates so far. Pat Lamarche (Green Independent Gubernatorial Candidate in Maine) has again create a history for Cell Phone voting in Politics. At the debate at the University of Maine, Pat asked the audience in her closing statement to use their cell phones to vote for who they think won the debate. "Using your mobile phone" she stated, "text “pat” to 30644." Those that did received a text message ballot back asking them to reply with the corresponding number of the candidate they thought won the debate. This is the first time an instantaneous poll has been taken using “American Idol” style voting techniques in a political campaign. [Source: MoPocket]
    3. Gamble on Mobile to Earn a Free Flight: European airline Ryanair was eagerly planning to support a business model of free flights with gambling revenue by offering them the ability to gamble on their mobile phones as they fly. [ Source: Techdirt Wireless ]

    Inflight mobile calls in 50% of Airlines by '08

    By the end of 2008, nearly one half of airlines worldwide will allow calls from mobile phones while in flight, according to the most recent annual survey conducted by Airline IT Trends.

    The figures in the annual Airline IT Trends survey show an appetite for a range of in-flight passenger communications, with 59 per cent of airlines also planning to offer internet and email access by the end of 2008.

    Source: Fierce Wireless, silicon.com

    Most expensive Billboard - $25,000

    ..Myers Motors is pitching it as a $25,000 moving billboard for small businesses. 

    Read more at the Source: The Electric Car As Billboard

    Technorati tags: ,

    Sprint offering Gmail on Mobile?

    "Sprint Nextel Corp., the third-largest U.S. wireless services provider, will start offering a mobile version of Google Inc.'s e-mail service to encourage subscribers to use features besides calling." - When I read this news item, for a minute I did not understand what I just read. What does it mean? Sprint offers Gmail? Any Sprint customer with access to internet could read Gmail on their mobile. Isn't it? Then what is this special offer? 

    Gmail for mobile devices will be available to Sprint's data customers at no additional charge, Reston, Virginia-based Sprint said in a statement today. Users can download the e-mail application or access the service through a wireless Web site.

    The news is that "Sprint will offer a link to Gmail from its mobile home page". Thats all about it. Or they mean that they will not be blocking you from accessing from Gmail website. Read the press release by Sprint here.

    Technorati tags: , , ,

    Google vs Yahoo

    What is the key difference between Yahoo and Google?

    Well, one difference is that Yahoo wants to offer Content primarily and offer search as a tool to findout the content. Google wants to offer Search as a primary tool to find that content.

    While Yahoo builds content sites and offer them to readers, Google is only building toolsets to create such content by individual users.

    Which is more powerful? Creating content or building a toolset to let users create the content and help them find it? I guess, the later. So Google will be clear winner even in terms of content.

    Technorati tags: ,

    Telecom majors expand further in India

    Telecom companies are flocking to India to expand their existing operations or opening up new offices around India.

    Nokia Announces another R&D Facility in Bangalore,India

    Nokia, the world leader in mobile communications today announced that it has expanded its Research and Development (R&D) facility in Bangalore with the inauguration of a 210,000 square foot development centre at the Prestige Tech Park in the IT corridor. The Bangalore R&D centre, the largest Nokia site of its type in India, focuses on development work for software platforms, chipsets and high-end Nokia mobile devices.

    Source: MoneyControl

    While Nokia says the new center will be developing software platforms and high-end Nokia mobile devices, I believe, the new center will be exclusively used to develop and support Bharti(Airtel), which gave a $400 Million contract to Nokia to manage and expand its network.

    Bharti Airtel today announced the signing of a $400-million contract with Nokia for managing and expanding its cellular networks in eight telecom circles.

    Nokia will also deploy a pan-India (Wireless Application Protocol) solution across Bharti's networks. The Nokia win comes two months after Bharti awarded a $1-billion contract to Swedish telecom equipment maker Ericsson to expand networks in the other 15 circles where Airtel operates.

    As per the three-year contract, Nokia will provide managed services and expand Airtel networks to cover all towns and cities in the eight telecom circles of Mumbai, Maharashtra & Goa, Gujarat, Bihar (including Jharkhand), Orissa, Kolkata, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh (including Chhattisgarh).

    Source: Money Control

    In other words, Nokia is building its own offshore services center in India to serve the local clients.

    Motorola builds new $15 million R&D unit in Hyderabad. Going by the same principle and beliefs of Ed Zander, Motorola wants to design its mobile phones right from fashion houses. Not from technically profound Engineering centers. Remember Ed Zander's first move to bring back Motorola was to move its design centers to Chicago design studios. Given the context, if Hyderabad center works on the design of phones, it would be a big big surprise to every one.

    Motorola is investing $15 million in a new telecom software development center in Hyderabad in south India as of part of its efforts to expand operations and counter the dominance of its rival Nokia in the country.

    The US telecom giant currently has six R&D centers in India.
    Motorola’s chairman and CEO Ed Zander, during his first visit to Hyderabad, said, “Some of the products that you will buy later will be designed in Hyderabad.”

    The R&D centre in Hyderabad’s Hi-Tech City area will house the Motorola software group and will employ more than 1,000 engineers.

    “Software is a major driver of technology and our Hyderabad facility’s focus on software engineering addresses a key aspect of our global operations. We want to cultivate, retain and grow top talent in the world. We like what we see here,”Zander said, at the launch of the facility.

    The announcement came nearly four months after Motorola decided to invest $100 million to build a handset and telecom equipment plant near another southern Indian city, Chennai.

    Source: ITWire